On Thursday, the ministers of health and education, Olivier Véran and Jean-Michel Blanquer, announced new measures to contain the pandemic. For those who feared a new confinement, the Minister of Health wanted to be reassuring: “I will not announce to you any confinement, no curfew, or early closure of shops, or limitation of movement. “We make the choice to reconcile freedom and responsibilities”, he added.
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Third dose for all
This is the main announcement of this press conference: until now reserved for people over 65, people at risk and caregivers, the third dose is now available to all French people over 18. The government is thus following the recommendations of the Scientific Council and the Vaccine Strategy Orientation Council, which recommend a booster for all adults, since the effectiveness of vaccines against infection declines over time. “We are going to open, reopen or expand the existing vaccination centers, starting this weekend,” promises Olivier Véran. The Minister of Health has also announced the reduction of the time between the second and the third dose from six to five months after the primary vaccination. Important clarification: “an infection corresponds to an injection” of vaccine. If you have tested positive for Covid-19 since your two doses, you must therefore wait five months after your infection to receive a booster dose.
Olivier Véran is considering a vaccination for 5-11 year olds. If the health authorities are favorable, and if the government follows their recommendations, the opening of vaccination to the youngest will in all cases not be effective “before the beginning of the year 2022 since it is necessary to that to receive the doses adapted to the children ”.
Hardening of the sanitary pass
The validity of the PCR and antigen tests, necessary to obtain the pass in the absence of vaccination, has been reduced to 24 hours, compared to 72 hours so far. From January 15, the health pass will also be deactivated in the absence of a booster dose within seven months after the last injection. The “comfort” tests remain chargeable.
Return of the mask required indoors
Regarding barrier gestures, the government has decided to make the mask mandatory again in certain places subject to the health pass such as restaurants, places of entertainment, or museums. Outside, in case of high attendance (eg: Christmas market, flea markets …), the mask will also be compulsory.
End of the systematic closure of classes when a positive case is declared
So far, the health protocol in place in primary schools provides that when a student tests positive, all classmates are sent home for seven days. But now, when a case is declared in a class, each student will be called upon to take a test. If the latter is negative, the tested student will be able to return to class – if his test is positive, he will have to isolate himself. This measure already applies in middle and high schools but only concerns vaccinated students. The tests are free for minors.